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Woolworths Belfast

Woolworths New Zealand wants its impact on the planet to be positive. A dynamic new 4 Green Star rated supermarket in Ōtautahi Christchurch showcases its sustainable mindset.

Name: Woolworths Belfast.

Rebrand: Woolworths New Zealand is currently undertaking a nationwide supermarket rebranding – from Countdown to Woolworths stores.

What: A new single-storey supermarket including production areas and administration offices ( 3400 square metres); e-store with freezer/chiller units and a new high tech automatic racking system for online click and collect shopping (1700 square metres).

Address: 755 Main North Road, Belfast, Ōtautahi Christchurch.

Occupancy: Approximately 136 people employed on site.

Project Snapshot

Owner/landlord: Belfast Village Centre Ltd.

Tenant: Woolworths New Zealand.

Architect: Woodhams Meikle Zhan Architects.

GSAP: eCubed Building Workshop Ltd.

Main contractor: Watts & Hughes Ltd.

Project timeline: Commenced 2021; completion and operational September 2022.

Project certification: 4 Green Star Design & As Built NZ v1.0 (September 2023).


Woolworths Belfast is not just a smart new centre piece in its local community.

It is a statement about Woolworths New Zealand’s commitment to a new genre of green supermarkets in Aotearoa.

The supermarket chain’s 2025 Sustainability Plan, Kia pai ake te āpōpō - A Better Tomorrow – spells out its sustainable journey.

Green Star is centre stage in that route with 4 Green Star Design & As Built rating targets for all new developments – and 5 Green Star minimum ratings by 2025. 

Taking a circular approach to waste, protecting natural resources, cutting operational carbon emissions by 2030 and becoming a net positive business by 2050 are all part of the mix.

Woolworths New Zealand Director of Format, Network Development and Property, Matt Grainger, says the new Belfast supermarket - developed in close collaboration with its landlord - notches up its third Green Star success.

“We are delighted to achieve another step in our Green Star strategy. Green Star delivers a whole series of measures which when combined contribute to a sustainable building full life cycle initiative. We’re proud to be delivering stores that will leave a lighter footprint for future generations.”

Woolworths aims to create sustainable supermarkets that not only meet demand both online and in-store but also give locals a fresh new grocery shopping option with a contemporary green-thinking look and feel.

The configuration and aesthetics of the Belfast store have been finely tuned to maximise occupancy experience.

And the impact is already being felt.

“We’re confident the building is enhancing staff positivity and enjoyment along with health and well-being in the workplace. It is exciting,” says Matt.

He says transferring learnings from one Green Star project to the next is a key part of Woolworth’s green worklist.


Green Star initiatives from the Belfast project have already been implemented in a targeted 5 Green Star targeted supermarket in Kaiapoi – including digital shelf labels to reduce paper use and doors on fridges to reduce energy use.

Project Director Feng Zhan of Woodhams Meikle Zhan Architects says Green Star has been a headline act in the Belfast project.

“It started from day one of concept design with our GSAP appointed and involved in all design meetings. With our green building plan adopted we worked our way through developed design, detailed design and construction,” says Feng.

Stand out green features of the project include:

  • Efficient services design with a heat recovery system which uses waste heat from. the supermarket fridges to provide heat to the building in winter.
  • A focus on certified and lower impact materials.
  • Sealed doors on chill and frozen units for energy conservation.
  • 100 percent usage of flicker free LED lights in store.
  • High quality acoustic environment.
  • Electronic shelf labelling to reduce paper use.

Project GSAP Sarah Daniell from eCubed says modelling suggests the building will produce 66 percent less greenhouse gas emissions during operation compared to a reference building design.

“It is really exciting to see a big organisation commit to Green Star for its new buildings and carry that sense of responsibility across more than one project. Woolworths’ level of ongoing commitment to sustainable buildings sets the bar for all New Zealand companies with property portfolios.”

Watts & Hughes Ltd, Compliance Officer, Kay Waterman, says Green Star facilitating an important conversation around sustainability in the building sector.

“Green Star is introducing contractors and sub-contractors to the fact that there are more sustainable options out there. It’s making it clear that clients are willing to pay for environmentally positive materials and practices to be used.”

She says while running a building site where a project is targeting Green Star accreditation is more complicated than a typical build, the tool offers great educational opportunities.

“Recycling and diversion from landfill can be quite abstract but when Green Star is happening on site it opens the dialogue around environmental responsibility. Green Star also encourages really positive and responsible building practices for staff like Mates in Construction.”


Green features include:
  • Project is located on a greenfield site - land does not have high ecological significance.
  • 75 percent construction waste recycled or reused.
  • Site-specific waste management plan for processing waste and recycling.
  • Water efficient fixtures and fittings.
  • EV charging points.
  • Bike parking for staff/customers.
  • Shower/clothes drying facilities for staff.
  • Landscape planting priorities lower water use plants – non-potable water for irrigation.
Technical features include:
  • Main supermarket space is heated and cooled via energy efficient rooftop packaged units; uses heat/cooling reclaim from the refrigeration heating rejection.
  • The system includes afterhours setback controls/maximum relative humidity controls.
  • Refrigerants and insulants with zero ODP.
  • External lighting design minimizes light pollution to night sky/neighbourhood.
  • Efficient external LED lighting to external breakout area; main carpark with controls for efficiency including photocell control plus time clock.
  • Electrical metering for all major energy uses and sources.
Innovation points include: 
  • Market transformation - EV Delivery Truck Infrastructure – five EV chargers for e-store loading dock for electric online delivery vehicles.
  • EV chargers are located in floor boxes allowing delivery trucks to plug into ports whilst reloading for the next delivery.
  • Improving on Benchmarks – Materials – 18 percent of the materials used in the building have third-party assessment.